No peanut butter here. Just jam!

Werk Out Festival’s third year moves to Legend Valley

By Nick Schwab

The Wizard of Oz was far ahead of its time with its classic mantra, “There’s no place like home.”

Whether the red carpet has been brought out for you like a movie star or royalty, the comfort of “home” is a beautiful thing. So enchanting, in fact, that its allure can lead one on a life’s journey and make them work, or even fight, for a sense of comfort.

The next-best-relaxing thing to kicking back with a cold one in your own home is feeling like you are even if you are someplace unfamiliar.

Whether it is at a restaurant or as a houseguest of Mary Poppins, one often spends both money and social investment in places that are not just easy-going, but downright cherry mate.

One such place, where someone can feel at peace on an island getaway while retaining the common need for social interaction, is a music festival.

The Werk Out Festival is just that type of pleasurable experience to which one can kick back their feet and boogie out, not caring a bit about who is watching their dance moves.

Taking place in Legend Valley of Thornville, Ohio (about 25 minutes east of Columbus) from Sept. 20-23, the eclectic performance art and music festival has something for anyone trying to hold off the cold weather blues.

It started with a dream and has remained a fixture of the Ohio music scene for the past few years.  However, like any dream one has to keep it growing and care for it.

The Werks is the band that initially started this shindig and band member Chris Houser said about the festival’s lasting appeal and aura: “It’s the feeling of home that keeps people coming back.”

For the first two years, the festival was done at Zane County Caverns, but it has now moved in its third year to the historic Legend Valley in hopes of attracting larger crowds.

They hope to keep the same vibe and experience going into their new location, but now on a bigger level.

“It’s the community,” festival executive producer Tom Blessing stated. “It’s a culmination for the love of music and the love of life and the celebration of that.”

Previous attendee Charles Izenstark shared his experience at last year’s festival.

“It was a good, happy time,” he said. “I seriously did not see a single person having a bad time. There was a magical feel in the air. People were taking advantage of the last gasp of summer and having a great time.”

With bands like Papadosio and Ekoostik Hookah, as well as EOTO and Rusted Root, Blessing described this year’s music as a mixture of jam bands and electronic dance music, as well as some roots music and rock n’ roll.

It’s all in the family according to Houser, even down to how the bands are chosen.

“The way we pick bands is through experience with them on the road,” he said. “They are bands that we played with in the past and are very much friends and family alike.”

For instance, Houser adds that a band on this year’s lineup, Glostik Willy, had a unique way of getting acquainted.

“Glostik Willy is a band that plugged into our friends’ bus last year and played in the parking lot all night,” told Houser. “That was something that made them stick out to us.”

This year’s festival will fall during the equinox. According to Blessing, the themes and theatrics this year will come from this.

However, much like this equinox, Izenstark says that despite the fun times to be had one can get some peace and quiet and balance out much like night and day does here as well.

“The Werk Out Festival is a nonstop party from beginning to end if you want it,” he said. Then continued, “But it also gives you an opportunity to tune out if you want to as well. I had no trouble getting to sleep.”

Houser talks about the “family vibe” of the festival as inclusive to one’s entry to it and believes that it is the most special thing about it when compared to other concerts and festivals.

“The feeling of comfort, acceptance,” he added. “The feeling that you are with your friends and family and celebrate it.”

Houser continues that The Werk Out Festival is a “dream come true.”

“It’s always a band’s dream to throw your own music festival,” he explained. “It’s a very surreal experience. The buzz got huge and contributed to what it is today.”

Houser admitted that the festival actually lost money last year. However, he is optimistic and believes that that is not really the point of it.

“For me it’s more about having fun and forging the future and strengthening new and past relationships,” he said. He then concludes, “It’s always good to be part of something that is bigger than any one band.”

Therefore, click your heels together three times and repeat: “There’s no place like home or at The Werk Out Festival.”

This year’s Werk Out Festival will take place Sept. 20-23 at Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio. Weekend tickets are still available. For information on ticket prices, lineups and more, visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Nick Schwab at

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